Save Even More at Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are a phenomenal way to not only stretch your buck, but go green too. In a society that seems so caught up in recycling and reusing, I’m still amazed at the little-used and often like-new stuff I find at secondhand stores. And while their prices are admittedly lower than their new retail counterparts, there are still ways to bring the price down even more. Here’s a quick rundown of how to do just that:

Don’t discredit the “good ol’ standby” ways to save at thrift stores. Every thrift store is different, but many offer additional discounts of various days. Figure out these specials for the secondhand stores nearest you and shop then. These might include half-off a designated colored tag of the day, a punch card for frequent buyers or coupons provided in appreciation for donations.

Thrift store

Shop off-season at secondhand stores too. To get the best possible price on an item at a thrift store, shop for it when you don’t need it. Sad but true, items such as heavy winter coats and backpacks are often marked up around back-to-school time, for example. But tank tops and short sleeve tops, on the other hand, are usually marked down considerably. Pay attention to your future needs and shop opposite the season whenever possible.

Figure out where new merchandise is kept while waiting to be shelved. It may take a bit of detective work on your part, but it will be well worth it! Be the very first to get to scan “new” merchandise by locating the areas of the store where employees keep the items waiting to be shelved. (Hint: It’s usually tucked in a corner, near the back of the store or at the end of aisles.) You’ll be able to snag stuff before other customers even know it’s there!

No price, no problem! Offer one! Find a great item without a price? Don’t just give up, offer a price. Start with a cashier, first. Ask what the price is. If they offer a price that is too high, don’t be afraid to suggest a lower one. Often times, they’d just rather make a quick sale and they’ll accept your lower offer. If they won’t even offer a price, ask to speak to a manager. Don’t allow yourself to be penalized or miss out on a great buying opportunity just because there’s no price readily available.

Look for bundled discounts. Sometimes you can get more for less, even at thrift stores! Many secondhand stores offer discounts on books such as “buy four get one free.” Others have areas of the store that feature bagged items for one price. Still others will over a set price for a lot of plates, mugs or linens. This can add up to a real savings if you’re looking for more than one of a particular item.

Spot a newly donated item that fits the bill for you? Don’t be afraid to ask for a price on the spot. Again, most secondhand stores are out to make a sale and turn over merchandise fast. So why not help them do this by also helping yourself? Ask to speak to a manager to request that the item be priced for you on the spot. If they won’t, ask if they’ll take your name and number and hold the item for you until it has been “processed” and/or priced.

Photo credit: Roadsidepictures

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

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